Ever wondered what a work from home mom schedule (toddler-aged kids) looks like? I share mine (28-32 hour work week), plus hacks to make your own.

Are you working from home without childcare, and you need a work from home mom schedule (toddlers can approve of)?

Or, perhaps you're just looking into working from home after giving birth.work from home mother with toddler, text overlay "work at home schedule sample for 28-32 hour work week"

I know what you’re going through. Or what you’re about to go through.

Since 2015, I’ve been working from home on my own business with a baby, then a 1-year old, then a 2-year-old, then a 3-year-old.

My toddler just turned 4, and I can assure you that I have learned so many lessons and hacks about how to create a work from home Mom schedule that is flexible enough to cope with tantrums, potty-training, umpteen snack-trips, and even time for free storytimes at the library.

So, here are my hacks and examples of my own work from home mom schedule (toddlers will approve of).

What My Own Work at Home Mom Schedule (Toddler-age) Looks Like

Because I always find it helpful to see examples from others, I thought I’d start off by showing you what my own work at home mom schedule with a toddler looks like.

I actually track my time now using the free app Toggl, so I can pretty clearly see what I do, and for how long, each day of the week. I started doing this when he was 3, and you should know that when he was 2, my schedule looked a good bit different (as you well know – they change so frequently, and with that, our days must change as well!).

Note: With the schedule below, I get between 28 and 32 hours of work time each week.

Work at Home Schedule Sample for a 28-32 Hour Work Week

Monday-Wednesday-Friday Schedule

6:00 a.m. Wake Up (our toddler used to be a 4:30 a.m. waker-upper, so we consider ourselves lucky now to get him to sleep until 6:00).

6:00-6:30 a.m. His Dad makes him breakfast, and lets him watch fire truck videos on his phone. Then, they play. I get dressed, brush my hair (most days), and check my stats + email from the previous day.

6:30-7:00 a.m. We only have one car, so I drop my husband off to work. Then my son and I play at a playground until his school opens. It's a whole hour of Mommy-Son play outdoors, and we love it!

8:15 a.m. I drop off my son to school.

8:35 a.m. I get some breakfast next door.

8:45-11:25 a.m. I get focused work time in a food court on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

11:30 a.m. I pick up our son and we drive home.

11:50 a.m. I make him lunch, he gets to watch one episode of Octonauts, then it’s nap time.

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. He sure doesn’t nap like he used to! I’m lucky to get about 35 minutes to an hour. During this time I end up eating something, decompressing, and working on something. Admittedly, I usually get deeply into some kind of work when he starts to stir. *sigh*.

1:30 p.m. TV remains off for the rest of the day, and I engage with him doing some sort of activity (he LOVES activity time) that I saw on Pinterest or thought up myself to try with him.

2:30-3:00 p.m. Around this time, I start to panic a little and remember how little work I got done so far. I head back to my laptop, after getting him interested in some other play (that he, hopefully, gets into by himself – doesn’t always work. Here's my list of specific play ideas that keep toddlers busy while you work from home, with the estimated work time you can get based from my own experience).

3:30 p.m. Around this time, he’s stopped playing by himself and begs me to come play. So, we play outside, or go to the nearby park, or play with his water table, or any other number of activities.

4:00 p.m. We leave to go pick up my husband from work.

5:00-6:00 p.m. We’re all home together. Most times, I shut down my laptop and we spend the evening together. Sometimes, I still need to finish up some work, so I spend this time doing that while my husband becomes Super-Dad and plays with the little guy. I sneak in a yoga session with the free Yoga with Adriene YouTube videos (between 17 minutes and 39 minutes, about 4-5 days a week I do this). It is absolutely essential to my mental health, and to my physical health.

6:00 p.m. We feed him dinner, and I start making dinner for the two of us for after he goes to sleep.

6:45 p.m. This is family story time – a cherished moment in our household. We all gather in our loft upstairs, and pick out two stories. My son gets a snack and milk, and I read the two books. Then, it’s potty time, finishing up snack time, I brush his teeth, and I rock him before putting him to bed.

7:10 p.m. WHEW. Finally, my husband and I get an hour or so together before I conk out on the couch! Seriously…I usually fall asleep by 8:30 (*sigh*). We eat dinner, catch up on a favorite “couple’s show” we watch together, talk to each other about our days and pressing needs, and then woozily go to sleep.

Tuesday-Thursday Schedule

Honestly, I cherish our Tuesdays and Thursdays. My husband takes the car to work, and my son and I stay home all day.

Here’s how these days look:

6:00 a.m. Wake Up (our toddler used to be a 4:30 a.m. waker-upper, so we consider ourselves lucky now to get him to sleep until 6:00).

6:00-6:30 a.m. His Dad makes him breakfast, and lets him watch fire truck videos on his phone. Then, they play. I get dressed, brush my hair (most days), and check my stats + email from the previous day.

6:30 a.m. Daddy has left, and it’s just the two of us! I have my little guy play for an hour or so until the neighbors are awake and it’s light out (I mean…I try. Sometimes he’s very entertained with what he’s playing with, and other times I hop off my laptop and get down on the ground with him to play with something).

7:30 a.m. We take his tricycle and head to the park, about 5 blocks from our home. He loves this time! And it’s good for me to get out of the house.

9:00-9:30 a.m. Between this time, we’re back from the park. We play together, or do an activity together (or several – you know how these little ones love to change things up!).

10:30 a.m. I’m usually successful hopping back on my laptop while he plays with something himself (after the “fade away”, of course – look below for this technique).

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. …But only for half an hour. At 11:00, he’s allowed to watch Octonauts or Paw Patrol on t.v. I get him his lunch, and then I get back to work.

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. He sure doesn’t nap like he used to! I’m lucky to get about 35 minutes to an hour. During this time I end up eating something, decompressing, and working on something. Admittedly, I usually get deeply into some kind of work when he starts to stir. *sigh*.

1:30 p.m. TV remains off for the rest of the day, and I engage with him doing some sort of activity (he LOVES activity time) that I saw on Pinterest or thought up myself to try with him.

2:30-3:00 p.m. Around this time, I start to panic a little and remember how little work I got done so far. I head back to my laptop, after getting him interested in some other play (that he, hopefully, gets into by himself – doesn’t always work). Here's my list of specific play ideas that keep toddlers busy while you work from home, with the estimated work time you can get based from my own experience

3:30 p.m. Around this time, he’s stopped playing by himself and begs me to come play. So, we play outside, or go to the nearby park, or play with his water table, or any other number of activities.

5:00-6:00 p.m. My husband gets home from work! We’re all home together. Most times, I shut down my laptop and we spend the evening together. Sometimes, I still need to finish up some work, so I spend this time doing that while my husband becomes Super-Dad and plays with the little guy. I sneak in a yoga session with the free Yoga with Adriene YouTube videos (between 17 minutes and 39 minutes, about 4-5 days a week I do this). It is absolutely essential to my mental health, and to my physical health.

6:00 p.m. We feed him dinner, and I start making dinner for the two of us for after he goes to sleep.

6:45 p.m. This is family story time – a cherished moment in our household. We all gather in our loft upstairs, and pick out two stories. My son gets a snack and milk, and I read the two books. Then, it’s potty time, finishing up snack time, I brush his teeth, and I rock him before putting him to bed.

7:10 p.m. WHEW. Finally, my husband and I get an hour or so together before I conk out on the couch! Seriously…I usually fall asleep by 8:30 (*sigh*). We eat dinner, catch up on a favorite “couple’s show” we watch together, talk to each other about our days and pressing needs, and then woozily go to sleep.

Saturday Schedule

On Saturdays, Paul stays home with Conner and I go to work at the local coffee shop. I usually end up leaving around 7:00 a.m., and I return between 3:00-5:00 p.m., depending on how much work I’ve got to get through.

This sounds crazy to most people, but if you want to work from home, you’ve got to actually find time to work. I’ve been working Saturdays for years now.

My eventual goal, once our little guy is in preschool for 5 days each week (probably a year from now) is to stop working Saturdays.

Sunday Schedule

Sundays are blissful in our home. We do not work. I do not open my laptop. I rarely go on social media on my phone.

We go to church together in the morning, then home again. We eat lots of good food, we each let each other take turns napping, we get some couple time when he naps (for that hour or so…), and it’s a generally nice, relaxing day for everyone.

Psst: It was not always this way. I used to work on Sundays as well. Then it became a boundary of mine to stop working on Sundays and to make them a family day. That was 2 years ago, and we haven’t looked back.

Hacks for Working from Home with Toddlers

If you've ever wondered how to be productive with a toddler, I can tell you you're not alone.

Being a work from home mom myself, I can tell you that this thought used to cross my mind a good bit (especially when I was agitated and frustrated with both trying to get things done and be a good Mom all at the same time).

My son just turned 4 years old a few weeks ago, and to be honest, the last few years has been a bit of a struggle juggling both working for myself AND keeping a toddler engaged.

Still, I've had 2.5 years of experience, and I can tell you that it DOES get better. Your schedule gets a bit more “normal” and “predictable” (still not as much as it used to be, but you do get some relief).

And if you take my suggestions from this article? Then you'll save yourself a lot of grief (in fact, I wish I could have read an article from someone on this very topic while I was struggling through it two years ago!).

Below, you'll find my BEST hacks on working remotely as a mom, or building a business of your own and raising your toddler at the same time (without childcare).

Psst: is your child not a toddler yet? You'll definitely want to check out my tips for working from home with a baby (I wrote it while actually doing it, so it's quite useful). 

Hack #1: Know What You’re Doing Ahead of Time

I can’t tell you how many 10-minute chunks of time I wasted in those first few years simply because when the opportunity popped up, I spent the time trying to figure out what to work on next.

Gah!

Keep a tally of small tasks that need done, and then keep your list near where your work is. (Hint: your work area is likely going to be near where you Mom all day…not in your actual office. I took the time to repaint my office and set it up perfectly, and I’ve likely only ever worked in it 12 times in the last 3 years. Sigh.).

Elna Cain of Twins Mommy (yes – she works at home with TWINS) actually suggests that you write out your tasks by the time they’re going to take (scroll all the way down here for her example list). So, five-minute tasks in one category, 10-minute tasks and 25-minute tasks in another. Then you can get really efficient.

Example tasks on my own list include:

  • Try out a new product to possibly review on a blog post (10-15 minutes)
  • Send an email asking for a review sample of a product to possibly review (5 minutes)
  • Research keywords for a new article (20 minutes)
  • Create a Pinterest image for a new article (10 minutes)
  • Source a photo for an article (15-20 minutes)
  • Read one section of a business book (a few paragraphs) (10 minutes)

Hack #2: Write Down Your “If-Nothing-Else” List

I think one of the toughest let downs for me as a Work-at-Home Mom is never getting even close to the end of my to-do list each day. Ending a week and realizing that I’ll have to – yet again – take a to-do list from this week into next week is just discouraging.

I tried a few things. I beat myself up a good bit. And then, I got over it.

I decided that I needed to give myself grace, and needed a new system. A Mama-of-Toddler system.

So, I sat down in one of my 10-minutes of focused work time, and decided on 3 business activities that, if I did them every single day, I would feel accomplished and I would move my business forward.

For about 10 months, my three things were:

At the beginning of each week, I would simply write down these three things on each day of the week. And in my mind? If nothing else got done that day (besides keeping a 2-year-old alive and thriving, which is a lot) except those three things, then I was good to go.

This was a GAME CHANGER. Suddenly I no longer had business guilt, and I felt like the needle was being moved forward. It was awesome!

Hack #3: Sandwich Your Day with Engagement and Work Time

You ever heard the advice about giving someone criticism? You’re supposed to sandwich it in by first giving a positive statement, then the criticism, then another positive statement.

Well, use that strategy for working at home with a toddler. You can’t be unengaged all day – they simply won’t let you. And if you ignore them too much, they will NEVER let you focus on a task no matter what.

So, fill up their love tanks by engaging with them for 30 minutes without any distractions whatsoever. Then, try out an activity (these are my best busy-toddler activities for when you work from home) where you get to batch some work. Then, after they’ve played by themselves for a little bit (hopefully), you engage with them with all your focus again.

They’ll learn to trust that when you are with them, you’re WITH them. And when you’re not, you’ll be with them again soon.

Hack #4: Forget the To-Do List, and Make a Ta-DA List

This hack comes from The Dating Divas, and it couldn’t have dropped in my inbox at a more-needed time.

Instead of making a To-Do list, make a Ta-Da List.

Look – you are simply not going to get all your work done like you could before. And you might have to take away from time with your little one, which feels crummy. Or you might feel crummy by your seeming lack of productivity. Or you might have a bad day and realize that you neither engaged completely with your little one NOR got anything done (at least it felt like it).

Instead of beating yourself up constantly, keep a Ta-Da List. On a pad of paper, write down each thing that you accomplish throughout the day – NOT each thing that you have yet to get done.

See the difference there? It can really help save your self-esteem, Mama Bear.

Hack #5: Master the “Fade Away” Technique

Our toddlers want our UTMOST attention from us…don’t they? This is why you can’t just give them a toy and walk away.

You’ve got to give them some of what they want in order to get some of what you want. Isn’t that how the world works, really?

I call this hack “mastering the Fade Away”.

Remember on Friends when Ross talked about snuggling with Rachel for a bit in bed, and then rolling away so that he could get a good night’s sleep on his own side of the bed (he called it the Hug ‘N Roll)?

WELL, apply that to this situation. Sit down with one of these home activities for 2-year-olds, engage with them to get them started, and then when their curiosity is piqued? Fade away…to your laptop nearby (so that you can still provide oversight).

It’s kind of an art, and you’ve probably got experience doing this yourself. But if you time it just right? They hardly even know you’re gone before 10 minutes, 15 minutes, even 20 minutes has passed.

Hack #6: Have a Few WAHM Hail-Mary Moves

Speaking of toys that might keep your child entertained, I would suggest that you bring out special toys when you’re trying to get some focused work time.

The same ‘ole, same ‘ole toys can work well when you’re also engaging with your child. But I’ve found that if you both step away from them to work AND leave them with the same ‘ole toys they generally play with?

Well, it’s just not going to work.

We rotate our toys (meaning, we keep out only so many of them – the rest are in the closet, and periodically we bust out a new one for him to play with), and so some toys I keep in the back of our closet specifically for when I need a focused-work-time miracle.

It’s like my Work-at-Home-Mom Hail-Mary Move.

A few of these toys are:

  • Magnetic Play Board (also works fabulous for long car rides)
  • Kinetic Sand in a big wrapping paper plastic container
  • Clean paint brush with a bucket of water, on the back patio (I bring my work outside, ofcourse) – you can’t imagine the amount of fun a toddler can have “painting” water
  • Melissa and Doug’s locks and latch toy

You can find my list of best toys to keep toddlers busy here (hint: most of them you likely already own).

Working from home with a toddler is no joke. I hope so much that my work from home schedule (toddler – aged) will prove very useful to you. If nothing else, then it will show you that the struggle is real, and you are not alone.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
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